Kick-start your workout with these ten exercises that target every part of your body, sourced from Adam Campbell’s The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises, which offers a comprehensive collection of over 600 exercises and cutting-edge workouts designed by top trainers worldwide.
1. Abs: Mountain Climber with Hands on Swiss Ball
This exercise is a simple yet highly effective way to tone your abdominal muscles without requiring excessive movement.
How to do it: Assume a pushup position, keeping your arms fully extended but place your hands on a Swiss ball instead of the floor. Your body should form a straight line from head to ankles. Engage your core muscles and maintain this position throughout the exercise. Lift one foot off the floor and slowly bring your knee as close to your chest as possible while maintaining proper lower back posture. Repeat with the other leg. Alternate back and forth for 30 seconds. If this is challenging, you can place your hands on the floor or a bench instead.
2. Glutes: Hip Raise
This exercise specifically targets the muscles of your glutes, helping to flatten your belly. Weak glute muscles often lead to an anterior pelvic tilt, which can strain your lower back and cause your abdomen to protrude, even if you have low body fat. The hip raise is an excellent remedy for this issue.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor [A]. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees [B]. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds, focusing on tight glute contraction. Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
3. Quadriceps: Offset Dumbbell Lunge
This exercise offers several benefits, such as increased core stability, improved balance, and enhanced calorie burning. By holding a weight on only one side of your body, your core muscles are engaged to maintain stability.
How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in your right hand next to your shoulder, with your arm bent [A]. Take a step forward with your right leg, lowering your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee is almost touching the floor [B]. Push back to the starting position. Complete all your repetitions, then repeat the exercise with your left leg while holding the weight in your left hand.
4. Hamstrings: Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift
This exercise primarily targets your hamstrings while also engaging your glutes and core. It helps correct muscle imbalances between your legs, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, it promotes hamstring flexibility by stretching the muscles during the lowering phase.
How to do it: Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and extend your arms in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bent knees. Lift one leg off the floor [A]. Maintaining a natural arch in your back and a slight knee bend, hinge forward at the hips, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor [B]. Pause briefly, then squeeze your glutes, drive your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position.
5. Chest: Single-Arm Dumbbell Chest Press
This exercise not only targets your chest and triceps but also engages your glutes and abs, providing a comprehensive upper body and core workout.
How to do it: Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in your left hand over your chest with your arm straight. Your palm should be facing out, slightly inward. Place your right hand on your abs [B]. Lower the dumbbell to the side of your chest, pause, and then press it back up to the starting position. Complete all your repetitions, then repeat the exercise on your right side.
6. Shoulders: Scaption and Shrug
The scaption and shrug exercise targets the front of your shoulders and the rotator cuff when you raise the dumbbells. The shrug movement helps balance the muscles that rotate your shoulder blades, contributing to better posture and well-defined shoulders.
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides, with your palms facing each other [A]. Raise your arms at an angle to your body, forming a “Y” shape until they are parallel to the floor [B]. At the top of the movement, shrug your shoulders upward [C]. Pause briefly, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position and repeat.
7. Triceps: Swiss Ball Lying Triceps Extension
This exercise targets the triceps while also engaging your core muscles to maintain stability on the Swiss ball, providing a dual benefit of strengthening your arms and working your abs.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a Swiss ball so that your middle and upper back are supported by the ball. Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the dumbbells over your forehead with your arms straight and palms facing each other [A]. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your forearms go beyond parallel to the floor [B]. Pause briefly, then lift the weights back to the starting position.
8. Biceps: Split Stance Dumbbell Curl
The split stance dumbbell curl not only targets your biceps but also engages your hip and core muscles for stability, resulting in increased muscle activation and calorie burn.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and place one foot in front of you on a bench or step that is slightly higher than knee level. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length next to your sides, with your palms facing forward [A]. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders [B]. Pause, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
9. Upper Back: Swiss Ball L Raise
The Swiss ball L raise specifically targets your upper back muscles, helping improve posture, shaping the back of your shoulders, and enhancing the appearance of your upper body.
How to do it: Lie facedown on a Swiss ball with your back flat and your chest off the ball. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders, palms facing backward [A]. Keeping your elbows flared out, lift your upper arms as high as you can by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to your torso [B]. Without changing your elbow position, rotate your forearms up and back as far as possible [C]. Pause, then reverse the movement. If you can perform more than 12 repetitions, you can use dumbbells.
10. Lower Back: McGill Curl up
The McGill Curl up targets your core muscles while maintaining the natural arch of your lower back, reducing stress on the spine and increasing endurance to help prevent lower back pain.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your left leg straight and flat on the floor. Your right knee should be bent, and your right foot flat. Place your hands, palms down, on the floor underneath the natural arch in your lower back [A]. Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor without bending your lower back or spine, and hold this position for 7 to 8 seconds while breathing deeply [B]. That counts as one repetition. Complete 4 to 5 reps, then switch legs and repeat the exercise.